Ryan Howard hits his 200th homer

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Ryan Howard hit his 200th career home run, reaching the milestone in fewer games than any player in major league history:

The 29-year-old Howard hit his 23rd homer of the season in the sixth
inning to reach the 200 milestone in 658 games, fewer than any player
in major league history. Ralph Kiner, previously the fastest player to
reach 200 home runs, did it in 706 games.

“It’s a nice feat,” Howard said. “It’s a nice record to have. I’ll take it and run with it.”

He won’t run nearly as far as he could have, however, because after
“200,” the second most significant number in that paragraph is “29.” As
in Howard’s age, which is pretty advanced for a slugger with his
talents to be getting his 200th home run. Howard did not play a full
season in the bigs until 2006, when he was 26. This despite the fact
that he went .291/.380/.637 with 46 home runs in 131 games between AA
and AAA in 2004. As of now, he’s roughly the same age as Albert Pujols,
but 150 home runs behind him.

Not that raw home run totals matter too terribly much in the grand
scheme of things. It’s just that Howard kind of fascinates me as a
player, and he’s someone whom I would have liked to have seen in the
bigs earlier than I did.

Jon Lester to miss one or two starts

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Jon Lester had a terrible outing yesterday, allowing nine runs — seven earned — and leaving the game before he could complete two innings.Lester entered the afternoon with a 3.99 ERA. He exited with a 4.37 ERA. Later the Cubs said that Lester was suffering from left lat tightness.

The Cubs are now saying that Lester will miss 1-2 starts. They are sending him to see Dr. Stephen Gryzlo for a more in-depth exam, and it’s possible Gryzlo will determine the injury is more serious, but at the moment the assessment seems cautiously optimistic.

Mike Montgomery will fill in for Lester for the time being.

Adam Wainwright ain’t right

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Adam Wainwright was knocked out of yesterday’s game against the Pirates, allowing five runs on seven hits in three innings. For the second straight start his velocity suffered as well, with his fastball sitting in the mid-80s. This is not the Adam Wainwright the Cardinals are accustomed to and not the one they need. So they’re going to try to figure out what’s wrong. Wainwright, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports, is headed back to St. Louis to meet with team doctors about his arm.

One wonders if this isn’t one start too late, given his struggles in his last outing and given that he said after that outing that he’s dealing with some pain on the outside of his elbow/triceps area. He did say, in the team’s defense, that that is a problem he’s dealt with in the past and that it has always gone away on its own. Still, it hasn’t always been accompanied by a velocity reduction, so this could be more worrisome. Also in the Cards’ defense: Wainwright is a 12-year veteran who has a way better handle on his own body than some kid might, so it’s understandable that they gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Still: concerning. The Cardinals are in a dogfight for the NL central and, while 2017 Adam Wainwright isn’t the same pitcher he used to be, having him around for the stretch would be preferable.